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Editor’s Note

Greetings from the LéO Africa Review!

In these troubled times, as the world grapples with the Corona virus (COVID19) pandemic, and millions of us are social distancing, in self-isolation or quarantine, it is easy to become distraught; to contemplate what a post-pandemic world will look like and worry still what sort of leadership will be bold enough to shuttle us into this post-crisis world. But alas, we don't have any better answers!

Allow me to introduce the LéO Africa Review--our ideas publication at the LéO Africa Institute. Our aim is a simple one, to shine the spotlight on ideas, events and personalities who are driving change in East Africa today. 

Over the last six months our writers have covered a number of topics including: two coming-of-age artists in Uganda who represent a restless generation  Ugandans using art to expand our understanding of justice; to the evolution of Bobi Wine, to many seen as a rebellious young man in the ghettos of Kampala who has now become a symbol of resistance in Uganda and beyond; to the senseless murder of Susan Magara that gripped the country and brought home the reality of increasingly sophisticated urban crime. 

We hope these stories will not only make the rigours of your couch-stay bearable but also enjoyable.
Stay home, stay safe!
Kwezi Tabaro


Daniel Lagen’s painting tells the story of Susan Magara, the 28 year-old accountant at Bwendero farm whose gruesome muder at the beginning of 2018 not only rocked Uganda, but also reignited debate on the systemic violence against women in the country.
“There are few moments in our common history that our lives connect to an event such as the death of Magara. The manner in which she died reminded all of us of what we would not wish for our families or friends or for that matter any member of our community. The painting was intended to preserve this rare moment when we are all in agreement.”
- Angelo Izama

David Kangye and Andrew Kaggwa help us to look back at the gruesome murder, our response to it and why it caused much anger among the Ugandan elite because, "for once, here was someone like them who had lost a life". More...
BOBI WINE: From the Stage to the State

While introducing his main player, Specioza Nantaba in the 2017 song Specioza, Bobi Wine talks about this girl, Specioza, and all the things he felt for her, only to end up with  fractured emotions and probably ego.

Many could have been led to believe that Kamwokya Community as mentioned in the song was fictional, though it indeed exists – as a place that the current legislator for Kyadondo East and musician Robert Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine had failed to find favour in his youth.

Andrew Kaggwa traces the legislator's journey from a troubled youth, through his musical battles, to his latest ambition: unseating Uganda's longest serving president, Yoweri Museveni, in the 2021 polls. More...

COMING OF AGE: Kwiz-Era and Ezi

Back in July 2019, David Kangye sat down with Hillary Mugizi, the artist behind the Ezi brand, to talk about his unique vector art pieces. In his own words Mugizi says:
“I wish people could take a risk to believe in artists. They should be given a chance to prove themselves. There’s so much we can do to improve the image of the country especially through tourism.”  More...
Kwizera’s is a house full of brushes, paint and paintings. As you enter the gate, you cannot fail but notice the different pieces of art littered in the compound. From the empty wine bottles in different shades of green lining up the front veranda to the abandoned installations of incomplete sculptures  whose shape my mind could not figure out, to the hanging flower pots surging all over the walls; you can clearly tell, this is an artist’s space. More...

BOOKS: Matthew Rukikaire's "70 Years a Witness"

Following the launch of Mzee Rukikaire’s memoirs 70 Years a Witness at the tail end of 2019, Kwezi Tabaro interviewed the veteran businessman and politician at the LéO Africa Institute in February 2020. In the interactive session with fellows of the Institute that followed, Mzee Rukikaire re-echoed the need for the young generation to prepare for the imminent transition and the need for them to learn from the mistakes of past leaders that had brought Uganda to the precipice in the 1980s.

While he acknowledges the immense economic turn around the Uganda has witnessed under the NRM government, he is worried the prosperity and stability are under threat from unchecked public sector corruption and a growing intolerance for divergent views by the ruling party.

According to Kwezi, "Matthew Rukikaire’s 70 Years a Witness offers a comprehensive account of contemporary Uganda’s history from the tail end of colonialism, to the promising dawn of independence, the desecration of its institutions and disintegration of the Ugandan state under Amin, and the Resistance war that heralded into power Museveni’s NRM government."More...
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